PRINCESS ANNE — With the opening of a new Dollar General in Marion Station anticipated in the coming weeks the developer is now ready to move on to the next project — a new store in Eden.
The Somerset County Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 4 gave unanimous approval for the site plan for the Eden Dollar General which will be the fifth and final store in the county.
It will be located on a 4.35 acre parcel next to U.S. 13 South but accessible by way of Eden-Allen Road. The entrance will be across from Foltz Drive, a private street serving the Eden Estates mobile home park.
“I think this is a great location,” said Commission Chair Kathleen Garton, who along with board member Skip Colborn were especially interested in landscaping and aesthetics. “If this pops with some decent landscaping” those driving by will think favorably of the store and the county, she said.
Howard Crossan of Oxford Chase Development Inc. and professional engineer Brock Parker presented an amended site plan after meeting last month with the county’s Technical Advisory Committee.
The store will look very similar to the one in Marion and Westover, which opened in January 2018.
The property is owned by Young Cha and Hae R. Koo and is zoned General Commercial C-2. The plan is for a structure 10,640 sq. ft. in size which is slightly larger than either store on Crisfield Highway. Parking requirements are met although the original number of parking islands with crepe myrtles will be reduced.
Vegetation will be used instead of a vinyl fence, and Leyland cypress originally proposed will be replaced with native holly. Mr. Crossan said in his six years building Dollar Generals he’s learned to avoid mulch so he is using river rock in the parking islands. Also, because landscaping transfers to Dollar General after one year he wants maintenance and mowing to be at a minimum.
“Everything you’ve done, at Westover and Marion, has been first class,” said commission member Steve Raab.
“I don’t want something that’s going to die,” Mr. Crossan said. He was agreeable with the plant substitutions requested by the board “as long as the soils are conducive and they’re not going to die.” Planning staff will work out final details.
Board member Janet McIntyre attending remotely asked about crossover traffic safety, and Mr. Crossan said he is following whatever is required by the State Highway Administration. The board included as one of its conditions a “no objection” letter from SHA.
Other issues addressed in the plan include widening the entrance from Eden-Allen Road and stabilizing and resurfacing a section of the road because of increased truck and customer traffic. There will be a new drainage pipe installed for stormwater management. Dumpsters will be screened similar to the Westover store. Construction is anticipated to start in April.
Among the planning commission members voting on the site plan was Laverne Stewart of Princess Anne, who had been appointed two day earlier by the County Commissioners to fill the unexpired term of James Mullen. Mr. Mullen had recently completed one year of second five-year term before stepping down.
As for the latest Dollar General store located on the corner of Crisfield Highway and Crisfield Marion Road, it is where the former Marion Market and house once stood. Mr. Crossan expects to have it ready mid-February so inventory can be moved in. He estimated it could be open a week after that but the corporate office for Dollar General was not so definitive.
“At this time, a store opening is slated for the coming weeks,” said Angela Petkovic by email, “but understand that date is fluid and may change.” There will not be a grand opening as it was when Westover’s store opened due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The store will employ some 6 to 10 employees, and the company is always seeking career-minded employees. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Marion store, although on a lot about a half-acre larger than the one planned in Eden, was constrained because a portion of the property fell within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. A variance was granted administratively but a couple who lived nearby on Luther Miles Lane objected, and appealed it to the Board of Zoning Appeals. After a public hearing last August the BZA found in favor of the developer.